Welcome to our seventeenth installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Ralph James, Evan Northrup, Jack Martin, Sarah Smith, and Evan Linden have delivered a fresh slate of streaming suggestions for your Sunday.
The Beach Bum (2019) - Hulu
The Beach Bum is the answer to the ageless question of, "What would Matthew McConaughey be like if he were in a Harmony Korine film?" The answer is, to nobody’s surprise, the world’s most charismatic, dope-smoking, ingenious poet who operates as a minimalist in Key West, Florida.
If you’re looking for structure, story, and just a generally clear direction for your Sunday movie night, then stray far away from this film—which isn’t a film as much as it is an hour and a half of vibes. Despite the fact that I internally cringe every time I have to write the word "vibe" because none other suffices as its replacement, that’s what The Beach Bum is— a vibe unto itself. For 90 minutes, you watch Moondog (McConaughey) smoke endless amounts of ganja, kick it with Lingerie (Snoop Dogg)— who’s just playing another version of himself, a vaping Zac Efron, a coked-out Jonah Hill, and of course, Jimmy Buffet.
How To with John Wilson - HBO Max
It’s amazing what people will do, and say, on camera. In the HBO Max original How To with John Wilson, the filmmaker sets out to answer questions about life while capturing the people of New York City.
The six-episode docuseries is a fascinating binge, as Wilson is able to take viewers on an intimate adventure through his seemingly basic topics. “How To Improve Your Memory” starts with Wilson trying to find ways to remember more about his daily life and ends at a Mandela effect conference in Idaho. In “How To Cook the Perfect Risotto,” Wilson attempts to cook risotto for his elderly landlord, but as the pandemic begins, it becomes an exploration of uncertainty and the connection we share with those around us.
Each episode is packed with B-roll footage that encapsulates the diverse landscape of New York City and all the characters that fill it. Wilson somehow finds people willing to discuss their personal struggles, intricate hobbies, and intriguing careers. The show is often hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, and endlessly fulfilling.
As someone who has trouble binging (and sometimes finishing) shows, How To with John Wilson was nearly impossible for me to turn off. If you have an HBO Max subscription, throw this on; you might come away with a different view of the world.
Russian Doll - Netflix
Ah, the infinite time loop situation—one of TV and film's favorite frame plots ever since Bill Murray decided to star in a movie about Groundhog’s Day in 1993. Considering how many creatives have tried to copy this trope in the 28 years since, few have managed to come up with a version that feels like anything more than a bad rip off of the original. Russian Doll, the 2019 Netflix series starring Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Bennet, is one of the few that succeeds.
On her 36th birthday, Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) dies. However, upon her untimely demise, the chain-smoking, software-developing New Yorker finds herself right back where she was a few hours earlier. Not one to be stopped by a minor setback like death, Nadia starts searching for an answer to her strange situation—often dying along the way, and always coming back to life.
Now, the death and resurrection aspect is a great twist on the usual time loop set up, but that’s not what makes Russian Doll an addictive eight-episode binge. What does is the totally unique main character and the way Natasha Lyonne brings her to life. Nadia is a straight-talking, drug-loving, style icon in her mid-30s who lived like she had nothing to lose even before she knew she was immortal. Watching Nadia stumble across the screen feels like watching a living embodiment of New York, and she turns everyday escapades like finding her cat, going to a party, getting a haircut, and walking the streets into a compulsive thrill ride of television.
Broad City - Hulu
Just having recently passed the seventh anniversary of its debut, this week it only seems right to celebrate the female comic genius that is Broad City. The show ran on Comedy Central for a short five seasons, from 2014 to 2019, and starred Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson as two twenty-somethings struggling to navigate love and life in New York City.
Aside from being fantastic writers—having both co-written and co-produced the show after developing it out of a webseries they had started years before—Glazer and Jacobson both have the acting chops to create dramatized versions of themselves that literally hop off of the screen and into my heart. The catchphrases they coined have long outlived the span of the show itself, and for good reason. Every episode and adventure that the two take is cleverly disastrous, as any good comedy show aims to be. At the same time, the relationship between the two girls is sincere and charming, and it is beyond easy to both sympathize with them and laugh at their pain.
I heartily recommend Broad City to anyone looking for the perfect background show to do work to this weekend. Keep an eye out for a number of hilarious guests, including (but not limited to) Fred Armisen (I’m just a wittle baby!), Rachel Dratch, and my personal favorite, Jason Mantzoukas. And if anyone can find Ilana’s JEW ESS hoop earrings, I will happily take 20 pairs!
History of Swear Words - Netflix
Looking for a quick and fun watch that will bolster your knowledge of profanities? Dope, let's ride.
History of Swear Words is Netflix's latest informational miniseries. Hosted by Nic Cage in a Series of Unfortunate Events-esque style, the six-episode series features a plethora of comedians as well as expert linguists, lexicographers, and the like. The experts break down the etymology and evolution behind our favorite swear words, while the comedians often weigh in on how they use the words in their own lives and careers. With input from comedy icons such as Sarah Silverman, Nick Offerman, Nikki Glaser, Isiah Whitlock Jr., DeRay Davis, and rapper/comedian Open Mike Eagle, History of Swear Words is an entertaining and enrapturing experience from the jump. Once you finish the first episode, there's a pretty solid chance that you'll let the other five roll in succession (they're 20 minutes apiece, making for the perfect binge).